Get the Boot!

19 Jan


Filibuster: The English term “filibuster” derives from the Spanish filibustero, itself deriving originally from the Dutch vrijbuiter, meaning “privateer, pirate, or robber”. It is also the root of the English word Freebooter.

The use of the filibuster in the American Senate was a tactic used to delay or prevent the passage of legislation, usually opposed by a minority of members. In years past, real filibusters rarely happened since they required opposition senators to go to the effort of standing on their feet and speaking continuously for hours on end. Only the most intense and dedicated opposition would mount filibusters.

However, the “traditional” filibuster custom was significantly changed only a few years ago to allow senators to “filibuster” without actually speaking and consuming their own time. That would be equivalent to you not having to go to work and do your job but still being able to say that you worked so you can collect your paycheck. And imagine if you, the workers, were able to decide on creating this rule yourselves without having to consult your bosses?!

Of course as one would expect this new “silent filibuster” is just way too convenient. Why should anyone go to work then if only ten Senators (workers) can sign a piece of paper and then the object of their wrath (the job) requires a 60% supermajority to pass. So, since all 100 senators now know that there are not enough senators (workers) to pass the legislation (do the job) then no one really needs to show up for work!

By eliminating the cost of filibustering, this new and ingenious rule has effectively undermined majority rule, a cornerstone of our constitutional republic and the definition of a “working Senate” itself… Now all the minority needs to do (in many cases just 1 disgruntled Senator (worker) to prevent a bill from even reaching the floor is simply to threaten to filibuster. Debate never begins. Real filibusters almost never take place. And this of course is cleverly and ironically called a “silent” filibuster, an oxymoron if there ever was one, kind of like “no-show job” or “unemployment pay” or “Welfare queen”  wouldn’t you say?

If a worker’s union came up with this ingenious tactic to help its workers avoid work and still demand their pay no doubt the government and the taxpayers would move to either disband the union or call out the national guard to have them arrested and thrown in jail.

“Sorry boss but we all can’t work today because Joey here doesn’t like what you’ve asked us to do.”

How appropriate! The American Senate once one of the most august legislative bodies in the world  has managed to transform itself into a non-functioning band of lazy, do-nothing pirates of panache! privateers of personality! robber barons of democracy! and by the very definition of the word that describes their most favorite and new and improved way to get their jobs done… freebooters!

If only “We the People” could really give them the boot!

60 Responses to “Get the Boot!”

  1. John January 19, 2013 at 10:00 pm #

    Oh they need the boot alright…

  2. January 20, 2013 at 1:17 am #

    G, what I’m finding is that I enjoy your way of thinking and how you write. It’s cool I learn something each time I read your blog. Good logic in your points on this one. Drives me bonkers.

  3. Lindsaysf January 20, 2013 at 4:46 am #

    I was appalled when I first heard about this change in filibuster. You state the situation very well. It’s one of the several reasons why I’ve joined up with It’s one of the several reforms in the system they are calling for.

  4. Canadian girl January 20, 2013 at 7:10 am #

    We have quite the predicament here in Canada. Government awarding themselves higher salaries and pension packages, passing bills ,without vote, that have major economical, social and environmental impact. Here in Ontario our protected land, water and provincial parks are being taken away at an alarming rate. Our Prime Minister, well he just refuses to acknowledge when questioned. He seems to feel he is above it all and doesn’t need to answer to anyone. Disturbing times here in North America.

  5. jninesworld January 21, 2013 at 2:01 pm #

    Amen sir. It is absolutely frustrating!!! Great article, thanks for posting.

  6. elizjamison January 21, 2013 at 2:57 pm #

    First, thanks for the informative article. Great Post. I am really disturbed, though. I didn’t know about this. What are we turning into? Every time I turn around, something else is happening in our government that just burns me up.

  7. Susanna January 21, 2013 at 8:09 pm #

    Really like that “pirates of panache”. Classy way to describe something despicable.

  8. barbarastanleybarbara stanley January 22, 2013 at 2:19 am #

    It may not happen as quickly as we would like, but we can boot them by not voting them in again next term.

  9. James R. Clawson January 22, 2013 at 4:31 pm #

    This kind of logic explains why our government is so slow in passing budgets and getting anything done anymore.

  10. webowers January 22, 2013 at 5:19 pm #

    Yes, the fillibuster can seem like a waste of time, but it helps to protect the minority from being basically “steam-rolled” by the majority. If the ability to fillibuster is taken out, there could be worse things to take it’s place. Better to just vote any of the ineffective “employees” back in.

    • gpicone January 22, 2013 at 10:55 pm #

      I am in favor of the filibuster, but since when is not filibustering, filibustering? I could work at my job until I was 90 too, if I didn’t have to work at my job!

    • Tracy Goodwin January 25, 2013 at 6:00 pm #

      It isn’t the filibuster that is the problem but the ease with which it can be used. They don’t have to hold the floor, hell they don’t even have to show up. They can start a filibuster on something then walk out and head home. That makes it too easy to block everything the majority wants to do.

      At least with the talking filibuster they had to actually hold the floor and talk. Then only important things get filibustered because it takes a much greater effort. That forces Senators to decide if an issue is really worth filibustering.

      I wouldn’t eliminate the filibuster but it can’t be so convenient to block things. Instead it just needs to take a bit more to filibuster so that the minority has to decide when it is worth filibustering.

      Besides it doesn’t matter if we vote Senators out as long as the rules are the same. The same game will be played by the same rules just with different players. Changing the people isn’t really going to change the Senate.

      • gpicone January 25, 2013 at 10:44 pm #

        Yes, exactly! Taking the work out of work makes Johnny a dull boy.

  11. surfskiesp January 22, 2013 at 5:38 pm #

    Great post! I am following you now. My name is Carlos, if you ever want to know about Ocean Paddling, follow us back! Cheers

  12. rami ungar the writer January 22, 2013 at 5:41 pm #

    Ah, if only a petition would work to get the filibuster back to its original meaning. Then we could actually get something done in Congress.

  13. primalnights January 22, 2013 at 8:11 pm #

    Very informative. I have always supported the filibuster because I think to many laws get passed to quickly and besides making senators wait it gives the people time to weigh in. But there should be a cost to the person or side doing the filibustering. With that taken out of the picture the is no cost or proof of conviction. Excellent post.

  14. The Sandwich Lady January 22, 2013 at 9:18 pm #

    Great post! Now if we could also subject them to the same health insurance and retirement planning challenges that the rest of us face…

  15. Dan Hennessy January 22, 2013 at 9:22 pm #

    Well said !

  16. Vincent Borgese January 23, 2013 at 1:57 am #

    You ain’t seen nothing yet! “We the people” just re-elected a big-government guy, and the feeling now in Washington is that’s exactly what the people want: more government, greater control BY government, and policies dictated more by THEM then “we the people.”

    • mrcisco69 January 25, 2013 at 5:34 pm #

      Well said… my thoughts exactly.

    • oneintercessor January 29, 2013 at 2:59 am #

      Exactly. The first time we could hope for ignorance and people being clouded by lunacy of what the real issues were (or, issue was), but the second time? We see the people have chosen to hand over the best nation that ever was. We’re loaded with useful idiots in this country.

  17. Sword of Apollo January 23, 2013 at 2:56 am #

    “No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the Legislature is in session.”
    –Judge Gideon J Tucker

  18. melanielynngriffin January 23, 2013 at 4:26 am #

    Sometime you should watch the old movie, “Mr Smith Goes to Washington.” Classic Jimmy Steward film about a naive but good-hearted fellow who gets elected to the Senate and ends up doing a REAL filibuster to call attention to shady dealing. Very inspirational and patriotic. They don’t make ’em like that these days!
    I worked on Capitol Hill for many years and saw perfectly reasonable, ethical people get elected, and within two years they were nothing but fundraisers. Good policy-making is a thing of the past at the moment! Thanks for the educational post.
    And congrats on the FP!

  19. Doug's BoomerRants January 23, 2013 at 6:56 am #

    If they ever re-made “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington” it would be a silent film with no character standing there. Wait… that’s sorta like Congress today; silent and without character!

  20. Jackson Williams January 23, 2013 at 6:57 am #

    Reblogged this on Bored American Tribune. and commented:
    — J.W.

  21. Barbara Backer-Gray January 23, 2013 at 8:13 pm #

    Hi gpicone, thanks for following my blog.

  22. artscb357 January 24, 2013 at 8:31 am #

    Your notion of ‘saving money’ through eliminating the traditional tools of check and balance the minority faction is a very curious one?

    Perhaps a good one???

    Why have a minority faction at all since in our current country everyone in politics is epitomized by the media as being aggravatingly the same? Why have a legislature of parties competing to be idiots at all since we have CNN and Huffington Post based polls that tell us what we want anyhow? Both Bush and Obama seemed to think that the citizens of the USA (and the world) don’t need a legislative branch or judiciary branch either as with the NDAA. We can also save money by just formalizing the title of President to Emperor for Life and save the cost of the facade of another corrupted election, inviting guest emperors from foreign lands like the island of Corsica to rule here with no cost of birth certificate needed?. In fact, since many state and federal government organizations like the post office are on their way out anyway, and most local police constabularies have now been militarized to SWAT out any individual AR-15 toting criminals we could replace them with the domestic army which by the way is already a reality, vis a vis, NORTHCOM. Then we wouldn’t have to pay twice for setting up road blocks and protecting everything. And even better yet, let’s just get rid of all the competing state governments that too many times are doing nothing but sucking down tax payer’s money by replicating federal initiatives and divisively fighting federal legislation. Hey, why not just scrap the whole business of national government and let the elite club of those ‘ too big to fail bankers’ employ their favorite pets, BIS, NATO and the UN, to run the whole damn thing! They can just automatically bill us at the most convenient double digit interest rate when they need to get bailed out again.

    Yeah! Great idea!

    They can make sure that none of those pesky insurgents of the past dressed in cheap Halloween indian costumes illegally dump anymore tea in Boston harbor!

    • gpicone February 15, 2013 at 6:54 pm #

      I’m really not sure you understood my post at all.

  23. mkesling63 January 24, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

    legislation makes law. What law do we need we don’t already have? Why does it take more legislation to cure the deprived. Cut their existence out and all the money and time saved. Then ,maybe the judicial branch may have accomplished something instead of chasing them around telling them they are no good. As far as helping the deprived, that should only come up when it stops working not just something to take the money away from. How many forms of housing does it take to get housing? Get income when you have a down period? Pool of money, housing need or income downer eligibility, problem solved. How many ways does it have to be voted out when the public wakes up to the reality of “We are just going to take the money and provide devotes to us in workers, classing everything into one non proving world?

    What about this doesn’t say it is a major tool of socialism and communism that will always end up there. Then when their is no money, start again….Time for a complete change.

  24. Anne January 24, 2013 at 1:28 pm #

    Well said! I particularly like the phrase “robber barons of democracy.”

  25. Jeremy White January 24, 2013 at 9:51 pm #

    Enjoyed this. Thanks for a good read.

  26. Tracy Goodwin January 25, 2013 at 6:09 pm #

    Well written, I really enjoyed it.

    The filibuster is too easy to use which makes it a convenient tool to apply anytime you don’t want something to happen. Though the filibuster is an important tool to keep the minority from being completely powerless but it really should have some cost associated with it like it use to.

    As is it completely locks up the Senate and prevents much of anything occurring. Combine that with the Hastert rule which block much of what the House does and you end up with a Congress that pulls 6 figure salaries and accomplishes nothing.

  27. thejourneythatmatters January 25, 2013 at 10:21 pm #

    Great post! It was very informative and congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

  28. captainalb January 28, 2013 at 12:05 am #

    Enjoyed your post. This is just part of the entitlement mentality of the government elite. They think it is all about them. Well, it isn’t. The way we can give them the bot is to stop listening to the media and the campaign hype and elect men and women of honor and conviction to office who actually want to be public servants, not overpaid public leeches.
    If you like this comment check out my blog at

  29. Gardengirl January 28, 2013 at 7:00 pm #

    We can give them the boot that they so deserve, but that would require We The People to do some work and put forth some extra effort where politics are concerned. Hold our politicians responsible. Fire Them! without a lifetime salary/pension! Thank you for so candidly sharing your thoughts.

  30. Tyler Roberts January 29, 2013 at 6:04 pm #

    Quite simply, its all part of the plan. They do absolutely nothing so Obama can rule by Executive Order. And thats not so much a slam on our current president as it’s just how things are and those things are wrong.

  31. Kellie Kennedy January 29, 2013 at 7:35 pm #

    I saw the movie Lincoln this past weekend. talk about men loving to hear themselves talk and KILL time while trying to pass or not pass a law. It was as bad then as now!

  32. Blunt January 30, 2013 at 3:16 am #

    Reblogged this on Abruptly Put and commented:
    a true and well written perspective.

  33. Blunt January 30, 2013 at 3:17 am #

    thank you, a great perspective.

  34. marsgyrl January 30, 2013 at 4:45 am #

    WOW…that was extremely well written, informative and entertaining! How did you do it?? 🙂 I had no idea about the new silent filibuster and I consider myself a pretty educated citizen. It is amazing what we quietly let happen due to our ignorance on the issues. That is why blogs like this are so important!!! Please keep it up!

  35. Maya Greywolf February 1, 2013 at 9:40 pm #

    Interesting that you used a worker’s union as an example. I don’t know if the Job Bank program is still in effect but what you described is EXACTLY what they were doing. Here is a reference from NPR from a number of years ago:

  36. David February 2, 2013 at 11:32 am #

    Right on target! We should merely “threaten” to Impeach…Thanks for the like

  37. Harold Knight February 2, 2013 at 1:56 pm #

    I may have my SMU first-year writing students read this as they try to write about the process of commemoration of national tragedies. They write about Gettysburg, Challenger, and “Day in Infamy” speeches, and have a hard time understanding Congressional reactions and the inability of Presidents and Congresses to work together. Great writing!

    • gpicone February 2, 2013 at 3:28 pm #

      Thanks very much! I appreciate it and would love to know if you use it 🙂

  38. Freshi Ice Sticks February 2, 2013 at 4:38 pm #

    congratulations on featured in Freshly pressed.

  39. Major Noogles February 3, 2013 at 9:44 pm #

    If only we could give them the boot before it’s too late. If only.

  40. janeanddavid February 4, 2013 at 1:54 am #

    I so often wish I knew more about issues. Often don’t feel “qualified” to even express an opinion. But, one thing for sure, I vote every time I can. Then I try to separate the good from bad; “glad I’M not in charge”. But meanwhile, I wish the senate and congress, Dems and Republicans would work together and know they/we all need compromises. Boy do I dream. Its just that every tip is a turn against someone else. even Taxes aren’t so bad if you happen to value the things you get: roads, police, fire protection….Someday maybe these mass electronic connections will change things instead of just being “porn”. Thank You for edging me to think once again.

  41. mkesling63 February 4, 2013 at 12:54 pm #

    The front page of my blog says it all. Direct democracy will come to all people and all that try to become in-between the public treasury again that is not needed to pay benefits in any way will be executed as terrorists and are. This will become common practice for the future as well. The law does not need all the GOP crap or their agencies in-between. Technology and a good id system replaces them all. They will remain replaced to. Government is going to start minding it’s won business and stay there. What is government business: Protection from deprivation and crime annihilation only. Past that government people incompetence will now be destroyed immediately in it. Obstruct justice and be executed. Government will no longer be guilty of supplying deprivation. Support it in government and join the terrorist as an accessory.

  42. kalabalu February 8, 2013 at 3:44 pm #

    elected them to work with pay, but they selected to get paid without doing any work..

    • Tyler Roberts February 8, 2013 at 7:30 pm #

      Of course this is all by design, so Oboma can rule by decree.

      • kalabalu February 9, 2013 at 1:03 pm #


  43. Meg February 16, 2013 at 2:11 pm #

    I think that this is one of the more disgusting things that has happened in Washington in recent years.

  44. JB February 16, 2013 at 10:21 pm #

    Amazing article. Thanks for stopping by (=

  45. Argus February 24, 2013 at 11:55 pm #

    This may not go down too well—

    —but American politics makes excellent sense. To Americans …

  46. jalal michael sabbagh. March 1, 2013 at 4:43 am #

    Very interesting post,l enjoyed reading it..Thank you for liking my (about) l hope you will visit again.Warm regards.jalal

  47. jalal michael sabbagh. March 2, 2013 at 6:25 pm #

    I hope the day will come when the Senates use the same tactics on themselves.To impose the same rules they imposing on ordinary citizen..Free health insurance for life fat social security for life unlimited terms.Thank you for liking my poem ( a day with out tomorrow.) Warm regards.jalal

  48. dinoo kelleghan April 4, 2013 at 3:13 am #

    Really interesting post. I didn’t know about this despite having worked on a foreign news desk in the past. What a thing! I often feel parliamentarians of any country are increasingly far removed from the electorate.

  49. unfreepersonsunite February 11, 2014 at 12:08 pm #

    If we could just give the boot to Mental Health laws!!!!!!!!!!!

  50. unfreepersonsunite February 11, 2014 at 12:10 pm #


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